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Never stayed in a B&B - etiquette?

I apologize if this has already been posted somewhere, but I failed at searching (even with the tips!). I've never stayed at a B&B and am planning to stay in only B&B's for a solo 13-day trip throughout Ireland. I keep reading tidbits about gifts and photos from home and stuff to talk about... I'm kind of shy and really have no idea what to do. I live in Los Angeles and keep thinking that "stuff from LA" is just cruddy junk made in China that make poor gifts. I'm only bringing a carry-on so space is limited. Are postcards of sites here something someone would want? Please help. Thank you!

Posted by
8293 posts

Sarah, you do not need to take a gift to a B&B owner and anyone who says you do is daft. You have a commercial arrangement with these people and the only obligation you have is to pay the requested rate and be your own polite self. If you find that you really become fond of a particular host and/or hostess, buy them some flowers or a drink at the pub. Please don't bring kitch from LA.

Posted by
1829 posts

Giving a gift to B&B hosts is not something that we would normally do over here. If you want to do something maybe some flowers when you leave but it is really not expected.

Posted by
932 posts

Hi Sarah,
I asked a question about B&B etiquette a while back and it is a long thread. I can see that you couldn't find an answer very easily using search, because it took me many tries before I finally found my thread using the same search! Here it is.

Posted by
977 posts

Norma's reply covers your question perfectly. You have made a good choice to stay in B & B's, especially as a a solo traveller. Having said that, as a couple, we wouldn't chose any other form of accommodation.

Posted by
9363 posts

The above posters are right - no need to worry about a gift. In that regard, it's no different than staying in a hotel. I have stayed in B&Bs where the host offers you tea and cookies upon arrival, or chats with you if you are in the lounge in the evening, or over breakfast - IF you want. If you plan to be out fairly late they may give you a key to the front door as well as to your room, so that you can come and go as you please.

Posted by
2234 posts

Hi, Sarah. Most B&B owners are outgoing and friendly people. That is why they opened a B&B. They will go out of your way to make you feel comfortable and help you with any questions you have. If there are any rules or requirements, they will explain them to you. You might also check the room for a book with information about your location and B&B -- it will probably have the rules in writing. Just be friendly and polite and abide by their rules. You are under no obligation to socialize if you don't feel like it. But your trip will probably be more enjoyable if you make some effort to talk with your hosts.

B&Bs are the only way to travel IMO, especially in Ireland. I think you will love it. Have a great trip!

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you very much everyone! I especially appreciated Amy finding her thread! =) I feel more comfortable and confident, and will not bring any kitchy stuff.

Posted by
5 posts

On a three week trip to Ireland and England, staying only at B&B's, we took gifts just to the first place. The hostess there had been of great help through email in giving us advice on train schedules, in offering to pick us up at the bus station, and in holding tickets that could not be sent to a US address. Since there were children in the family, we chose small but nice gifts for them. The family seemed very appreciative.

Posted by
20 posts

In addition to talking to your Host (which I highly recommend as some of my best travel plans were made last minute based on their word) don't be afraid to make conversation with the people you are eating breakfast with since you might meet some fun people to walk around with for the day.

Posted by
588 posts

I always take photos of the B &Bs where I stay and try to get some of the interiors and even the host. I also pick up a business card. If you continue to travel and post to this forum, you might suggest some B & B's for future travelers. Some B & B's have pets and I always make friends with their pets.

Posted by
9363 posts

I do the same as Cheyne - talk to your host about your next day's plans, etc., and you might get some really great suggestions for places that you didn't even know were there. We always ask for a recommendation about where to get dinner, too. If you're in the lounge in the evening, tell them what you're planning for the next day and see if they don't offer some suggestions.

Posted by
12 posts

Hi Sarah ~ I know you have tons of information by now. But I wanted to add my experience and delight with B&B's in Ireland. I traveled for the first time by myself to Ireland this summer. Didn't know a soul when I went. Everyone at the B&B's I stayed at were grand. I would highly recommend a B&B in Ennis, County Clare named Grey Gables. Also if you go to the amazing Achill Island,County Mayo - I would highly recommend LochGlen B&B. Then in Bunratty,near the castle, Bunratty Mews. These owners were fantastic and the accomadations wonderful. So enjoy every minute. If you want to take a little token of appreciation... I say why not. Spread the joy. I took a couple of small lacqured artboxes (about the size of an oblong pillbox) they had painted Florida scenes on them. (I am from FLA) The owners (all women) loved them. Happy Trails.
Best Wishes.

Posted by
1838 posts

We enjoy staying in B&Bs too, and never even thought of taking a gift. Tell you what they do like, though...a positive review on a travel site like tripadvisor. I have received many emails thanking me for the reviews posted...these folks apparently refer to them as much as we do. Have a great time.

Posted by
28 posts

The post-stay positive review is awesome! Only a couple of the B&B's I'm staying at are listed in any of my guidebooks (Rick Steves the Cheeerful, then the Fodors Shopping Channel, and Rough Guides' Tome of Every Town - I found great info in all three, so no big "This" vs "That" guidebook discussion here)... all the rest came from endless searching (during work hours) online and then checking all the finds with forums such as this one, Fodors, and TripAdvisor. Thanks for more tips, everyone! If I find some way cool representation of Los Angeles before I leave, then I'll bring a few. I think "if someone from Ireland were to come and stay in my house for a couple of days, I would totally love a funky fridge magnet!" =)

Posted by
440 posts

My daughter and I went to Ireland in June. We stayed in B&Bs which turned out to be the highlight of the trip. They're friendly and helpful. You'll love 'em!

Posted by
38 posts

Bringing gifts is not expected by any B&B host. Although a nice gesture, its unnecessary.

Sign their guestbook if they have one with positive comments, also a nice touch would be to send them a postcard after you return home from your holiday.

Posted by
6245 posts

Sarah if you live in LA (like I do) take a good pic of the Hollywood sign. Drive up Beachwood to do it and make copies.....nearly everyone on the planet knows of Hollywood...I often take those, some LAPD key chains and pins (buy at LAPD store at the Police Academy).....to give them as gifts when the spirit moves me.....sometimes to children (with their parents permission) sometimes to B & B owners, sometimes to waiters, etc. since I work in the "biz" I also take a small photo album of shows I've worked on etc as well a pics of California (yosemite,
death valley, poppy fields, pacific ocean from Pt. Lobos, Golden Gate Bridge, etc.)
Anything that might be of interest. Have a great time in Eire. Don't miss Newgrange or Glendalough. Wonderful country and the friendliest people on earth. Slainte.

Posted by
252 posts

I may get a lot of flak for this, but I think bringing gifts is somewhat silly. If it was a B&B that you go to frequently and you've become friends, that would be another story. And, even then, they'd probably be more appreciative to see pictures of your family back home. People in Ireland don't need to be bribed to be friendly :-)

Posted by
3580 posts

I agree with Otter. Staying at a B&B is a business deal. If you really enjoyed your stay, you might write a glowing report in Trip Adviser or send them a postcard from home telling them you enjoyed your stay. The B&B owner is not your Aunt Nelly or Uncle Claude; staying in a B&B is not like visiting a relative, no matter how "at home" they make you feel. Being polite and thoughtful as a guest (try not to create extra work for your hosts) is your job. Follow their instructions; don't invade their private spaces without an invitation. I don't walk into the kitchen without asking permission. I did ask once if it was ok if I looked around, since the home was interesting and unusual.